Five generations of Huskies

A 1962 grad reflects on her family's history at the UW, which started in the 19th century and continues with her grandson's enrollment this fall.

When Mary Joan Hervey’s grandmother, Winifred, graduated from the UW in 1900, she was one of 47 students in her graduating class. When one of Hervey's grandsons, Henry, graduated this summer, he was one of 5,700. Grandma Winifred earned her degree from the UW’s teaching program, then known as the School of Pedagogy, and went on to become a teacher. Grandson Henry now does data analysis for the Seattle-based software company PitchBook.

Hervey’s family is a unique Husky pack, with five generations of UW grads. Like her grandmother and grandson, she also graduated from UW, in 1962, and so did her father, John Megrath Bloxom, ’25, and her daughter, Christine Hervey Price, ’86, ’02.

Now Hervey’s other grandson, James, is continuing the tradition. He’ll be entering the UW this fall.

Hervey takes her family’s relationship with the UW very seriously. That’s why she called the UW Alumni Association office in June to purchase a UWAA lifetime membership for Henry, something she does for each new Husky grad in the family.

Beyond campus, the family has made its mark throughout the state. Hervey’s great-grandfather, John Megrath, came to Seattle in 1883 and built a brick factory on the Duwamish River, later forming Washington Brick & Tile. He constructed many buildings in Seattle’s early days. Some are still standing, like the Rainier Club. One source even mentions him “superintending the erection of the state university.”

When asked what it meant to her grandmother, the 1900 grad Winifred, to blaze a trail as a female college student, Hervey reflects: “Going to college was such a part of her. I don’t think she thought of it as different.”

After Winifred married and settled down in Seattle, the family built a thriving fruit business, owning a prune orchard near the present-day Nordstrom building downtown. “My grandfather was very successful, but she was definitely the matriarch,” Hervey says, remembering a grandmother who “wore the pants in the family.”

After graduation, Hervey’s father moved to Yakima to continue the family fruit business there, owning the second-largest pear orchard in the world. He became a civic leader in Yakima, with founding interests in the Bank of Yakima and Chinook Hotel, according to Hervey.

When it came time for Hervey to choose where she would go to school, she looked to her father’s alma mater. She earned a degree in marketing in the “Mad Men”-era of the early 1960s. “When I was interviewing at Boeing, I was asked how many words I typed per minute,” she recalls. “I asked them, ‘Do men get asked that?’”

She settled down with her husband, David, and raised four kids, later starting an event-planning business. She now splits her time between Stretch Island in South Puget Sound and Clyde Hill, where she has been based for 49 years.

Over the decades, Hervey has seen how the UW and Seattle have evolved together. “When I went to the UW, most people in Seattle grew up here. Not that many people were exposed to the rest of the world,” she reflects. “But the UW has made a difference in making Seattle less provincial. It’s been the core of so many businesses. A really good research university has a really big impact on a community.”

She’s quick to point out that her grandsons weren’t pressured to follow in the family’s footsteps to the UW. “Their mother cried when [younger son] James got in—she was so excited. And the fact that my grandsons made that choice without any input that way was thrilling. I had such a good experience there. I’m just very proud of the UW.”